Editor's Note: This post is a translation of an article by Chen Idan originally published in Hebrew on May 14, 2013, on Geektime, Israel's leading tech blog.
Online purchases can be very technical and basic, but where's the fun in that? Israeli startup Shopetti wants to make your buying experience much more enjoyable, and of course, much more social.
Name of Startup: Shopetti
One-line pitch: Making the online shopping experience fun.
Use of Windows Azure: The company uses Azure VM to run its platform and stores its big data, including users, brands and products, on Azure servers.
For most of us, shopping is one of the experiences we enjoy most, whether it's dresses, shirts, pants, shoes, or even office equipment or medication. However, in recent years shopping has moved online, and the entire experience of trying something on and the actual purchase itself has become much more mechanical and a lot less fun.
Shopetti's prime aim is to restore the fun that we had with real world purchases and to integrate it directly into the online environment. Shopetti does this by providing a visual experience, a variety of features, and of course, by adding a social layer enabling us to obtain our friends' opinions before we make the final purchase, without leaving our house or getting out of our chair. So get ready to open your wallet and to put the fun back into your shopping sprees.
No Waiting in Line and No Need to Find Parking
If you’re anything like us, a great deal of your shopping is done directly on the Internet. Instead of leaving your house, searching for parking and waiting in long and tiresome lines, you prefer to click your mouse and order everything you want straight to your front door. There are, however, many other users who actually like the real-world shopping experience, but nevertheless prefer to use the virtual environment in order to save time and money.
The Shopetti team explains that first and foremost shopping is not the same thing as purchasing, and that most customers tend to confuse these two very different activities. Shopping focuses primarily on the experience, and while we may on occasion come away from it with bags full of goodies from a diverse range of stores, this is not a must. The customer audience that enjoys the shopping experience consists mainly of women (but not only) who like to spend hours walking through malls and stores, but who are unable to recreate the experience online, where most of what they do is make purchases, rather than shop.
As such, and in the light of Shopetti's understanding of the term ‘shopping’, the company wants to give customers the experience they are lacking, directly within the web browser, without leaving home. With Shopetti, users can socially discover brands, create a universal shopping cart that is not brand or store specific, and even create alerts about interesting sales. Naturally, users can share all this information with their friends, almost as if they were right next to each other, sharing the shopping experience together.
Buying From Several Stores in a Single Place
Currently, to simulate a shopping experience even to a small degree, we have to open a dozen different tabs in the web browser in order to find the specific shirt, shoes or dress to match a specific occasion or our present mood. We need to use search engines, various brand sites, e-mail, and Facebook of course, which makes for a messy and scattered process that is far from ideal; and in the end we may end up purchasing just one item, or even no item at all.
Shopetti takes this whole cumbersome experience and consolidates it under a single social roof that is much more suited to all users. The Shopetti website, which is currently in the midst of a trial run, is designed to enable women and men to enjoy the shopping experience even when they choose to make their purchases online.
After a short registration process, you will be able to start looking for your favorite clothes using the search engine built into the website, or alternatively, by entering the brands’ websites. Every item of clothing that you choose will be added to the cart of your choice, allowing you to create a number of carts for a number of events, without being constrained to buying all the items of clothing from one particular store. If the offerings on the Shopetti site are not sufficient for you, you can choose to install the Shopetti browser add-on, and collect items from multiple sites on the web, which will be automatically added to your interface.
Social media also plays a role here: alongside the option of sharing items with your friends, you can access the Social Media tab on the website, and view items that your friends liked or purchased. With a single click, you will be able to purchase the contents of the shopping cart that you created, even if it is composed of items from multiple stores. The order will be sent to the relevant stores, which will deliver the products directly to your home, or to the address that you specify.
Shopetti explains that its main advantage is that it understands the market need, and has consolidated all the media that we use today to make purchases into one well-designed website that is easy to understand and use. In addition, Shopetti informs customers when there are major discounts on items of interest, thereby effectively helping customers not only to enjoy shopping, but also to save a lot of money.
It is important to note that, as one can expect from a website going through a test trial, you may encounter a problem here or there when adding products to the shopping cart, either directly from the Shopetti interface or from one of your favorite online stores. In addition, Shopetti focuses on an American customer audience, and therefore a wide range of brands and websites displayed on Shopetti are not available to an Israeli audience, except through external websites that offer overseas addresses. Please note that if you do choose to use such a service, you will be obliged to pay an additional fee for shipping, which might be more frustrating and tedious than the experience that Shopetti wants to bring to you, its users.
Meet the Team
The concept behind Shopetti was born during a Startup Weekend event in Israel. After winning second place, company CEO Shefa Weinstein and CTO Guy Korland realized that they were onto something very special. They were accepted into the Microsoft Accelerator program, and immediately began to develop the product, and just recently launched their beta site on the basis of an MVP model.
Their vision is to dominate the online shopping market, with their main initial target audience being mothers, who command 85% of household expenditure and who sometimes cannot afford the luxury of spending hours wandering through malls. In the future, Shefa and Guy plan to continue to expand to a much bigger and more diversified customer audience, and to bring the online shopping experience to absolutely anyone who is interested, and to put the fun back into shopping.